Cut and crown a shotgun barrel

Domestic shotgun barrels typically range from 18″ to 32″ in length. While the long barrels are great for target shooting or hunting, shorter barrels are often necessary for defensive use. While many pump and semi-automatic shotguns have aftermarket barrels available, sometimes the easiest way to get a short barrel is to cut down the one you have.

Being in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for defensive shotguns out paced supply but we were able to source some fairly inexpensive guns with 28″ vent rib barrels that needed to be cut down.

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Any modifications made to a firearm should be made by a licensed gunsmith. Failure to do so may void warranties and result in an unsafe firearm and may cause injury or death.

Modifications to a firearm may result in personal injury or death, cause the firearm to not function properly, or malfunction, and cause the firearm to become unsafe.

For this project, I ordered the following items from Brownells:

I begin by securing the barrel in a padded Brownells Multi-Vise.

In the United States, non-NFA shotguns are required to have a minimum barrel length of 18″ (measured from the breech-face). This barrel has a vent rib and the end of the rib needs to be supported after it is cut. So, I marked the barrel at the next rib base past 18″, around 19.25″ on this barrel.

You can cut a shotgun barrel with nearly any kind of metal-cutting saw. I prefer to use a vertical band saw.

After the band saw, I like to square up the muzzle on a belt sander. Often I can carefully grind the muzzle end perfectly square. I apply light pressure to prevent overheating the metal.

To face the muzzle completely perpendicular to the axis of the bore, I like to use this piloted muzzle facing tool.

I usually drive the facing tool in a cordless drill by applying light pressure and coating the tool with cutting oil.

After the barrel is trued, a light pass with a round stone and some abrasive cloth finishes it off. You can drill and tap for a new bead or with a vent rib, leave it alone for a super fast-pointing gun!

Aftermath of a busy morning at the shop!